#TheLittleThings #SweatTheSmallStuff #LuckIsAMyth
The little decisions we make every day can make a difference in how our lives turn out.
Are you going to buy that cup of coffee, lunch etc., instead of making your own?
Are you going to engage in “retail therapy,” because something just happened to you?
Do you end a week not knowing where the money you had in your pocket went?
Andy Andrews tells us in his book, “The Little Things,” that we should sweat the small stuff.
And he concludes the book by saying that luck is a myth.
“Luck is undetectable because it is nonexistent,” he writes. “Luck is something wished for as the dice are rolling and blamed as soon as they stop,” he writes.
“You are strong, smart and capable. You will choose wisely because you have already chosen to open your mind, soul and spirit to the vital little things and their promise of ever-bigger things to come,” he writes.
Most people believe that circumstances – luck, as it were – dictate what a person’s life will be like. Perhaps it’s a job you got, or didn’t get, or lost. Perhaps you’ve been told that you are only going to go so far in life, and if you get there, you’ve have been the best you could have been.
Perhaps you believe that the rich are rich because they are lucky, and the poor are poor because they are unlucky. Certainly, circumstances can play a role in those cases, but they are not the whole picture.
Circumstances are usually things you cannot control. But you can always control how you respond to them.
Let’s take the little things mentioned above. Making and bringing coffee, or lunch, with you to work can save you a couple bucks a day. What if you put that money away in a relatively safe investment and paid no attention to it for, say, 20 years?
How much do you think you would have? What if you did the same for your lunch? What if you did that most every day, but treated yourself, say, once a week?
What if you could manage your instinct to shop for something you don’t need, to make yourself feel better. What if you could pick an amount you would have spent, and put that money away in a safe investment? How much do you think you would have in 20 years?
Attitude plays a key role in whether you become prosperous, or not. It almost doesn’t matter how much you earn in your job. If you can learn to live below your means, and saved your leftover money, you could be amazed at the prosperity you would have created.
Perhaps your job really pays very little. Perhaps you feel the need to augment that income. There are many ways you may not be aware of in which you could do that, a few hours a week, part-time outside of your regular job, that could put a good bit of extra money in your pocket. To check out one of the best, message me.
So, you don’t have to rely on luck to change your life. You can change EVERYTHING by changing how you think, and what you think about.
Don’t listen to those who tell you there is only so far you can go. If you look for it, your life could change tomorrow. The sky could be the limit.


There’s good debt and bad debt.
Of course, having no debt at all is ideal, but often, to have what you want in life, you sometimes have to borrow money.
Mortgage debt is among the good kind. As you pay it down, you are paying a part of it to yourself in the form of equity in your home. The more you pay down, the greater the equity. As a bonus, you are living in your house, too, so there’s an absence of rent payments. When your house is completely paid off, you essentially are living there for free.
In this economic milieu, when you sell a house, it’s not an automatic profit. But if you HAVE to sell your house, one of the considerations is that for however long you’d lived in your house, you didn’t pay rent – all of which goes into someone else’s pocket.
College loan debt used to be considered good debt. You were getting money for an education that ultimately was going to lead you to a better job than if you hadn’t gone to college. It made college available to non-wealthy families.
But Carolyn Thompson, reporting for the Associated Press, asserts that student loan debt is widening the gap between rich and poor. Her article ran in the March 30, 2014, edition of The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Thompson’s point: those who came out of college with lots of debt – roughly 37 million people saddled with $1 trillion in debt – will have a hard time catching up with the wealth of their peers who graduated with no debt at all. In short, those from wealthier families, long term, will have a leg up financially on their cohorts that were forced to borrow to go to school.
Looking at the big picture, a college education isn’t what it used to be. Decades ago, a college education gave you a shot at jobs that those who didn’t graduate or finish college wouldn’t get. Companies hired raw brains, and trained them for the jobs they wanted them to do.
Today, some of those degrees we cherished years ago are almost worthless in terms of job opportunities. You may have studied what you loved, or found your passion in, say, the arts, but converting that to economic advancement can be difficult.
Therefore, if you borrowed money to study what you love, or to find your passion, you need to do something to pay back all that debt. Unemployment, or constant job hunting, isn’t going to make that debt go away. Even if you get a good job out of college, as Thompson asserts, you’ll still have a potential six-figure debt out of the gate. Those years it takes to catch up to your debt-free peers may find you not getting a mortgage for the house you want, and having to settle for a lesser lifestyle for a long time. It could keep you from starting young to save for retirement.
In short: if you have to borrow money to go to college, you had better find it all worth it, regardless of what you study. You may come out an expert on Shakespeare’s works, but you could be making a living pouring coffee. Though there’s nothing wrong with having smart coffee pourers, you won’t be paying down your debt quickly, and may have little in savings at age 60.
There are numerous solutions to this problem, besides skipping college altogether. If you are not college material, don’t fret. There are other ways to make money. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau . You may find a way to earn a substantial income without interfering with your academic loves or passion. If it fits you, and you start before college, you could have a financial leg up on all your peers.
As radio talk show host and financial expert Dave Ramsey might advise: don’t let debt be your financial death.


We’ve all been taught that spending less and saving more will increase our wealth over time. No one disputes that.
When we want to cut household spending, most of us prefer to do it gradually, rather than all at once. For example, we may decide to go to Starbucks three times a week, rather than five.
As we get used to three times a week, we may go down to two, then one, then none. Then, we see a Starbucks run as a real treat, and do it once in a while. After all, the coffee you bring in your Thermos may not be Starbucks, and you may long for a treat once in a while as a reward for your good behavior. It’s OK to splurge, but not as a habit.
The point is, we feel cuts in household spending directly. They are a real sacrifice, as we see them, but we do it for a better, long-term outcome.
Then, there is government spending. It can best be called a real illusion. Yes, real illusion is an oxymoron, but it applies here. First, the money is REAL, even though the government can print it at will. It’s yours, mine and ours. The illusion comes in the concept that we would not really feel cuts in government spending, since so much of it is waste, so it should be relatively easy to cut.
We can prove that by watching people who advocate government spending cuts in the aggregate, but when it cuts things close to where they live, they complain bitterly.
We can debate whether government should be so intertwined with the economy, but the fact is, it is. It is tough to reduce its importance to the overall economic well-being.
Many private industries, defense contractors, for example, have, as their largest customer, the government. Cuts in defense could affect lots of private sector jobs. And just watch the almost annual debate over cutting superfluous military bases. The communities, and states, in which those bases are located would be hurt badly, even though closing such bases makes perfect economic sense from afar. Perhaps those bases are outdated. Perhaps they are just not needed for the country’s defense. But the shopkeepers, restaurants and other businesses whose clientele lives or works at these bases often go out of business when their base closes.
Many see certain government departments as unnecessary. Certainly, the usefulness of some agencies is debatable, but cutting such agencies in their entirety, all at once, would puts hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more people out of work in a job market that can’t find work for those currently idle.
Proponents of such spending cuts would simply accuse those laid-off government workers as having too easy a life for too long. The fact is, they were working before the cuts, and now they are not. What do you think would be the bigger problem as you see it?

Our personal spending, multiplied out over time and people, affects the economy. The local Starbucks wouldn’t likely go out of business if we cut back our spending there, but if EVERYONE did, it might be a different story. The point is that spending cuts are most palatable if done gradually, over time. If Starbucks anticipates that people would be cutting back their coffee runs over time, they could plan for it – perhaps by lowering prices and providing better benefits to keep people from doing it. If you are a Starbucks fan, and the prices were lowered, you’d be less likely to cut back because Starbucks is reducing the spending for you.
If you want to spend less, save more and make money at the same time, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau.
As with personal spending, government spending cuts should be incremental and gradual over time to make them more palatable. It’s been said that anyone can cut taxes. Anyone can raise taxes. Cutting spending, in a way that won’t have too many people screaming, is the real challenge. More people get re-elected because of spending, and securing aid for the home district, than by cutting taxes – or spending. Despite the criticism of earmark spending – look at how much of it was in the fiscal cliff deal – politicians rely on it.
The lesson here is to worry about spending in your own household. Saving more and spending less, as consumer adviser Clark Howard preaches on radio, television and in newspapers, is the key to building wealth. We should watch how our tax dollars are spent, certainly. But we should be aware that cutting spending in large amounts quickly is perilous. It’s no surprise that politicians fear taking on that chore.


Those in their late 30s today are more worried about retirement than those in the Baby Boom Generation, which is retiring, or on the verge of retiring, now.
A Pew Research Center survey, as reported by Hope Yen of The Associated Press, says that about 49 percent of those between 35 and 44 said they had little or no confidence that they will have enough money for retirement.
As discussed last week, time is on your side if you are in this group. There are steps you can take to stave off disaster. We talked about presuming your job will change and presuming any pension promises made to you will be broken. If neither happens, and you prepared for the worst, it’s a bonus for you.
But there are two other areas about which you should think if you are in this age group, and are worried about retirement.
Your spending habits. We talked last week about the “need” to keep up with all the latest technology. Do your gadgets last you a long time, or are you constantly trading up for the newest stuff? If something works for you, even though it may be “old” technology, sticking with it may help your retirement. The money you’d spend on upgrades will be more useful working for you so you can retire on your terms.
But there are other spending habits to think about. Lots of folks like Starbucks, or other premium-priced coffee. When your grandparents or parents were your age, coffee was coffee. It might have cost a dime in your grandparents’ day, and up to 50 cents in your parents’ youth. For that dime, or half-buck, that you spent in a coffee shop, you got all the coffee you wanted. Unlimited refills were yours. Today, you pay $2 for a cup of coffee. Many places still give you unlimited refills, but that idea is trending out. Starbucks never gives free refills. Other places are charging, say, 50 cents for every refill. Sure, the coffee shops and restaurants need to make a living, but a cup of coffee a day from a shop can add up to real money over a year. Do the math: $2, multiplied by, 250 workdays (5 days a week over 50 weeks) is $500. Put $500 a year into your retirement account starting at age 35, and if you work until you are 65 (30 years) is $15,000 in contributions over that time.
Say those contributions that money doubled every 10 years in your retirement account. In the first 10 years, $5,000 in contributions doubled to $10,000. That $10,000, plus the second 10-year contributions of $5,000, doubled becomes $30,000. That $30,000, plus $5,000 in contributions, doubles to $70,000. That’s not much for a retirement nest egg, but you augmented your nest egg by that amount, just by skipping the daily cup of coffee on the way to work.
Remember, your grandparents made a pot of coffee at home before work, and put it into a Thermos that kept it hot all day. You could buy your own bags of whatever coffee you like, and try putting it into a Thermos. Sure, it’s a pain in the neck to carry a Thermos, and your friends may laugh, but you may have the last laugh at retirement.
Finally, your free time. We all love free time to watch TV, play sports, enjoy our families etc. But what if you took some of that free time to work on your fortune? Retirement would not only not be an issue, you might even be able to retire VERY YOUNG! There are many ways to leverage your time into activities that could produce a lifetime, residual income. To check out one of the best ways, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It’s thinking outside the box, but if you are still young, and fretting about retirement, you have to think of alternatives you’d never thought of before.
It used to be risky to start a business. But today, starting a business appears less risky than trying to keep a good job for 30 or 40 years. If you can keep your regular job for as long as you can, and start a business on the side, you may have the best of all worlds.
This is not your grandfather’s, or your father’s, job market. Like the gadgets we like, jobs change. Companies are finding ways to hire fewer people, no matter the skill level. Pensions are changing. The defined-benefit pensions, paid for entirely by the employer, are disappearing quickly. Employees have to contribute toward their own retirement.
If you are between 35 and 44 years old, you have time. Little changes in how you live and work could make the difference in when and how you retire. Let your friends laugh at you. Retirement planning is no laughing matter. For if you do what you can for you, you’ll have the last laugh.